AP-NC Newswatch

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September 23, 2019
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September 23, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch






Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT


Ocracoke recovery to get North Carolina governor’s review
OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) – The barrier island that suffered the most damage from Hurricane Dorian in North Carolina is getting another visit from Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper’s office says he’ll examine recovery work on Ocracoke Island on Monday. He’ll be joined by Cabinet members and emergency management officials.
Dorian’s heavy rains and storm surge 2 1/2 weeks ago flooded Ocracoke, leaving hundreds of residents temporarily stranded. State agencies and nonprofits have provided food and water, fuel, medical care and portable toilets and showers. Ocracoke access is still limited to residents, homeowners and some others.
Cooper visited Ocracoke the day after Dorian departed the North Carolina coast.
Ocracoke is in Hyde County, one of 13 counties in which Cooper has asked President Donald Trump to declare as disaster areas to access additional federal funds.


Progressive group to spend $50M boosting Sun Belt turnout
WASHINGTON (AP) – Many Democrats are focused on winning back several Rust Belt states that backed President Donald Trump in 2016. But a progressive group plans to spend $50 million making sure opportunities aren’t overlooked in the Sun Belt.
The group, Way to Win, wants to elect Democrats in Georgia, Arizona, and Texas. Florida, Virginia and North Carolina are also targets.
Way to Win aims to make inroads with people of color, women and young people who increasing make up the Democratic electorate.
Group leaders will outline their plans at a donor retreat in Arizona on Monday.
An advance copy of their blueprint provided to The Associated Press details an effort focused less on top-level races than building infrastructure that could help up and down the ballot – and for years to come.


Bribery case raises focus on GOP rising star and fundraising
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican organizations tied to a GOP rising star in Congress show no signs of giving up nearly a quarter-million dollars they received from a North Carolina political donor indicted on bribery charges.
Some politicians who got donations from businessman Greg Lindberg offloaded his money to charities. A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mark Walker says the North Carolina congressman did the same with Lindberg’s direct campaign cash.
But spokesman Jack Minor says Walker didn’t control most of the over $238,000 that Lindberg gave his campaign and affiliated committees. Most of that went to national GOP groups, which wouldn’t describe what happened with it.
The situation illustrates how political donations benefiting federal candidates can flow through a network of supporting groups, obscuring where the money winds up and what it’s used for.


Men found dead at hotel died of alcohol, drug intoxication
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – State autopsies show that the two men found dead in a North Carolina hotel room in June died of drug and alcohol intoxication.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Saturday the autopsies of James Patrick Landreth and Jacob Bruton Galloway list the cause of death as “fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and ethanol toxicity.”
The North Carolina men were visiting the area for a rugby tournament and had celebrated their victory June 8. They were found dead the next day by another person staying in the room at the Ashville Best Western.
A search warrant said police found no indication of drug use or foul play.
Police initially believed carbon monoxide poisoning may have caused the two deaths. But three tests by the city’s fire department found no elevated levels in the room.


Officials investigate possible meningitis case at NC college
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Health officials in North Carolina are investigating a possible case of bacterial meningitis at Methodist University.
Officials in Cumberland County say the Department of Health was told Saturday that a person affiliated with the university was hospitalized with a “possible diagnosis of a bacterial meningitis infection.” They did not say if the ill individual is a student.
Officials say they are coordinating with the school and the state to provide antibiotics to anyone who had direct close contact with the individual.
The university sent a campus-wide notification Saturday.
Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The bacteria that cause the infection can spread through kissing, coughing and sharing beverages.
Signs and symptoms of infection include high fever, headache, stiff neck and a rash.


NC remap won’t necessarily produce Democratic majorities
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Redistricting experts say newly redrawn North Carolina legislative districts are skewed less toward Republicans than the current plans, which judges rejected for political bias, but they also say the maps wouldn’t necessarily guarantee Democratic majorities in 2020.
A three-judge panel is now reviewing the new state House and Senate districts approved this week by the General Assembly.
The judges’ Sept. 3 ruling rejecting the 2017 maps marked the first major decision in a partisan gerrymandering case since the U.S. Supreme Court decided in June to stay out of such controversies while keeping the door open for states to act.
The judges didn’t order politically competitive districts. Rather, they told legislative mapmakers to avoid using partisan data. The judges now will decide whether more changes are needed.


Arizona sheriff: Fugitive who escaped from bondsmen arrested
PHOENIX (AP) – A North Carolina fugitive who escaped in eastern Arizona while handcuffed and in the custody of bail bondsmen has been arrested in metro Phoenix.
Navajo County Sheriff David Clouse said Saturday that a U.S. Marshals Service task force arrested Robert Collins Friday night after an eight-hour standoff at a Glendale home.
Clouse said Collins ran away from the bondsmen Sept. 11 when they stopped in Heber 109 miles (175 kilometers) east of Phoenix so Collins could use the restroom at a convenience store.
Clouse said authorities located Collins by tracking an iPad stolen in Heber after the escape to metro Phoenix. A vehicle also was stolen from the same residence.
Collins faces burglary, vehicle theft and drug charges in North Carolina, and Clouse said he’ll ask for charges in Arizona.


Mosquitoes swarm N Carolina county after Hurricane Dorian
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
SWAN QUARTER, N.C. (AP) – Mosquitoes have swarmed a North Carolina county in the days since Hurricane Dorian brought heavy rainfall to the area.
Luana Gibbs is the interim health director of Hyde County. She tells The Virginian-Pilot that the mosquitoes are “twice as bad as they were” before the hurricane.
Dorian skirted the North Carolina coast earlier this month and made landfall on the Outer Banks, causing tornadoes and flooding and leaving behind collapsed buildings and homes.
The newspaper reports the mainland portion of Hyde County does not have a mosquito control program after determining six years ago that it was not cost effective.
County officials are urging people in that area to wear pants and long-sleeve shirts, avoid being outside at dawn and dusk and use mosquito repellent.


AP-WF-09-23-19 1020GMT